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Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 17, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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July 17, 2014
 

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4 Page - Mason Counfij Journal- Thursday, July 17, 2014 economic issues spa continued from page A- 1 One question asked candidates how they would use tax money from legal marijuana. "I think it would be ironic that we fund schools with marijuana sales," Sheldon said. "Hopefully we'll spend it wisely and education will be our top priority." Couture said the state should ad- dress issues with medical marijuana. "Right now medical marijuana is being kicked down the road," he said. Couture also said marijuana tax money should go toward law enforce- ment. Bowling said she wasn't sure how to use the tax money. "This whole ques- tion is a conundrum for me," Bowling said. "I'm not so happy with mari- juana being legal ... we have to support Bowling it because it is part of our state now. As long as we're going down this path, why can't we milk it for all we can get?" Candidates also discussed the pro- posed Belfair Bypass. Couture sug- gested funding the project in the state capital budget and giving the money to the county to construct the road. "The only thing that's controversial about the bypass is that it's not done yet," he said. While Bowling spoke out against the coalition caucus, Sheldon said the group was good for the state's future. "If the liberal Democrats get back in control it'll be super Seattle-centric for years to come," he said. Candidates for state House Repre- sentative Positions 1 and 2 also at- tended the event. Incumbent Kathy Haigh (D-Shel- ton), Josiah Rowell (R-Union) and Dan Griffey (R-Allyn) are all running for Position 1. Griffey was not able to attend the forum, but his wife, Dinah Griffey, read a brief statement from him. Haigh and Rowell discussed educa- tion, a higher minimum wage, ocean acidification and other issues. Haigh has been in the state House of Representatives since 1998. "My focus has always been on ed- ucation, probably nobody's too sur- prised at that," she said. "The deci- sions that are made at a state level have a huge impact on us locally." Rowell said he plans to work on promoting bipartisanship in Olympia. "I believe we need new leadership in Washington state," he said. Haigh said local governments should take the lead on instituting higher minimum wages, rather than the state government. "I don't think the Legislature's go- ing to make this decision," she said. "The majority of people in this state are women and children, that are liv- ing in abject poverty. We have got to find a way to rebuild the middle class." Rowell said he did not believe a high minimum wage would help the middle class and said he would not support it. "I believe it would be bad for our local economy," he said. Rowell said he would support build- ing more infrastruc- ture to support elec- tric cars to help the environment. Rowell "Clean cars are good, the only prob- lem is we have a gas tax which is how we pay to fix the roads," Haigh countered. "How are we going to pay for the roads? We're going to have to find a way to move forward in this state." Haigh said if she could pass one bill this session it would be related to pre- venting high school dropouts. Rowell said he would work to pass a bill mak- ing the Legislature fund education first when drafting the state budget. "We need to put our first dollars into K-12, not our last dimes," he said. Position 2 candidates Tammey Newton (D-Allyn) and incumbent Drew MacEwen (R-Union) also took questions at the forum. "I believe in the power of communi- ty," said Newton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Mason Coun- ty. "People are fatigued by the knock- ing of heads and the locking of horns and the inability to work together." MacEwen said he is also in favor of bipartisanship. "I've got a pretty strong bipartisan record," he said. "I broke ranks with my party multiple times and took a lot of flak for it because it was the right thing to do." Newton said it is important to focus on higher education as well as K-12 funding. "We need to focus on education on a broader level," she said. "(High school graduates) don't have the relevant Journal photos by Natalie Johnson Candidate Tammey Newton (D-Allyn), left, and moderator Heidi McCutcheon listen as state Rep. Drew MacEwen (R-Union) speaks during a candidate forum Monday night at Olympic Middle School. Newton and MacEwen are running for state House Representative for Position 2 in the 35th district. skill set for the job market today. We cannot ignore the role that education plays in that." MacEwen counted among the suc- cesses of his first term his work to ex- tend a tax break to Boeing that he said kept aerospace jobs in Washington. "There would have been thousands of jobs gone to South Carolina ... that would have been the reality," he said. "We did not put a new tax incentive in place, we took existing incentives and moved them out over the life of the 777X." During her closing statements, Newton said people in the district have been getting calls providing false or misleading information about her. The call said she only lived in the dis- trict for 13 months, while she said she has lived here since 2002. The call also said Newton had a bankruptcy on record. "I'm not the only one," she said. "I was expecting this to be a contest on policy and issues ... and our future. Attacking people on their personal weak spots is easy, that's the low- hanging fruit." Candidates for Mason County PUD 3 Commission District 2 answered questions on fiscal accountability, hy- droelectricity and renewable energy. "The PUD commissioners are good stewards of the environment," said incumbent Tom Farmer. "I remain committed to being our advocate to maintain affordable rates for all our owner/ratepayers. Your PUD is well- managed." Challenger John Komen argued that Farmer was one of the "most ex- pensive" commissioners in recent his- tory, saying Farmer was a swing vote on costly projects such as the district's new Johns Prairie Operations Center, financed and completed during Farm- er's tenure. "I'm running because I think this gentleman, my opponent, is too ex- pensive," Komen said. "He voted for every rate increase that came along. We ought to replace him and soon." Farmer said rate increases were necessary to cover increased whole- sale costs from the PUD's main power supplier, the Bonneville Power Ad- ministration. He said the new PUD building will last 50 years. "Mr. Komen is about the past and I'm about the future," Farmer said. The candidates agreed that the PUD should advocate to add hydro- power to the list of federally rec- ognized renewable energy sources, which includes solar and wind power. Komen said the utility should cut costs to absorb wholesale power in- creases without passing them on to customers. "If you've got the Bonneville Power Administration coming down say- ing there's X amount of dollars we're going to charge you ... you don't go spending extra ratepayer dollars on other things," he said. Farmer countered, saying the PUD is well managed. "If anybody in this room would like to go north or south or east or west, youll find (the) utility costs are high- er," he said. "The important thing is this utility is well managed and an- ticipates these expenses. We still have the cheapest, most reliable electricity available." 107Kmi. Readyto go! New Paint & Interior, Tires, and More. Like New! '05 Chrysler Town & Country Limited, Loaded, Stow & Go Ftuad a gahb on A~provad of Crt, dit '07 Dodge Quad Cab Custom Exhaust, 1 Owner 83,000 Miles War=.afles amnflable on adi vehicle8 4 Cylinder, 5 Speed, Great MPG! 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